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Vasse Felix: profile and verticals of Tom Cullity and Heytesbury

More than 50 years on from when Dr Tom Cullity planted his first vines at Vasse Felix in Western Australia's Margaret River region, the Cabernet-Malbec blend named in his honour and the equivalent top-tier Heytesbury Chardonnay stand among Australia's best. Sarah Ahmed charts the estate's history and tastes a nine-wine vertical of these two flagships.

How many doctors does it take to found a wine region? The answer is three in the case of Margaret River in Western Australia, whose pioneering vignerons included Thomas (Tom) Cullity of Vasse Felix, Kevin Cullen (Cullen Wines) and Bill Pannell (Moss Wood).

In 1967, just 4km from the Indian Ocean on the Wilyabrup ridge, Cullity planted Margaret River’s first vines that successfully went into commercial production. They included Cabernet Sauvignon, which put Margaret River on the map, as well as Malbec (the only other Bordeaux variety then available), Shiraz and Riesling.

Scroll down for a nine-wine vertical of Vasse Felix

Tom Cullity Cabernet blend and Heytesbury Chardonnay

Tom Cullity, aged 43, with his first Riesling vines, planted in 1967

Dr Tom Cullity, aged 43, with some of his first vines, planted in 1967 at Vasse Felix

Vasse Felix: the facts

PROPRIETOR Paul Holmes à Court
ANNUAL PRODUCTION 120,000-150,000 cases of 12
Home (Wilyabrup) – 52ha, gravel loam over clay
Boodjidup (Wallcliffe) – 112ha, gravel/sandy loam
Karridale (Karridale) – 30ha, sandy loam over calcium clay
Adams Road (Carbunup) – 147ha, deep red to sandy loam, some gravel and clay
KEY VARIETIES Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon

Vasse Felix: Tom Cullity Cabernet blend and Heytesbury Chardonnay

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